Yes, this is yet another fall-inspired recipe that allowed us to make use of our brand spanking new cherry red Dutch oven (thanks again for ordering that, Frankie!). This dish tastes extremely elevated, but it takes less than 45 minutes to make and get to the table, plus most of the ingredients should be in your kitchen already. Five-spice powder is something that I discovered back in our early cooking days when we were obsessed with Asian food. Before I tried this recipe, I assumed that five-spice powder was something used exclusively in mostly Chinese cuisine, but I’ve been proven wrong. Once we took the first bite of this delicious pork and noticed the interesting sweet note, we immediately looked up what’s really in that five-spice powder that could taste so good. We found out that it’s composed of star anise (licorice-like flavor), cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppers, and ground fennel seeds. The result is a smoky, sweet-yet-savory flavor profile that will make your taste buds smile. In addition, who thought that I would ever buy prunes (!!!) before the age of 75? I was nervous about this component of the recipe, but the thinly sliced pieces add a nice chewy texture to the sauce and a further hint of sweetness. This dish is great for a quick, yet amazing dinner, so try it out. We served it with Roasted Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes, but it should work equally well with some sort of seasoned vegetable or even a large salad with a sweet vinaigrette.
One 2 ½-pound center-cut pork loin [1300 calories]
1 ½ tablespoons five-spice powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil [120 calories]
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, divided [60 calories]
1 cup orange juice [110 calories]
4 prunes (dried plums), thinly sliced lengthwise [80 calories]
Calories per serving: 278
In a small bowl, mix the five-spice powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Rub the thawed pork loin on all sides with the mixture.
Heat a large Dutch oven/sauté pan/cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot and nearly smoking (~1 ½ – 2 minutes), add the pork loin. Cook pork until the bottom is fully browned, about 5 minutes. Using large tongs, flip the pork loin over in the pot, then surround with the sliced onion. Continue to brown the pork loin on the remaining 3 sides (about 3-4 minutes each) until pork loin is evenly browned.
Add 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar to the pot and stir the mixture well, being sure to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add orange juice and prunes, then bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and allow the pork loin to cook until well done, about 30 minutes. The internal temperature of the pork loin should be at least 145 degrees F before serving.
Once pork loin is fully cooked, remove from the pot and let rest on a cutting board or serving platter. Allow the sauce to continue to simmer until it has reduced a bit (~ 5 minutes). Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar, then taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper as desired.
Slice the pork into ¼-inch thick slices, and then serve with the sauce over top. This pairs very well with our Roasted Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes.
The original version of this recipe found it’s way into my inbox via Tasting Table, an amazing daily email service that sends recipes, new food trends, restaurant critiques, and much more. I absolute love opening up these little gems of deliciousness, and I strongly recommend you sign up as well if you love cooking as much as we do. We used a larger pork loin that that called for in the original recipe, so we altered the amounts of many ingredients to take that into account. If you would like the original for a smaller loin, you can find it here
Five-Spice Pork Loin Braised with Oranges & Plums.